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Green boys tennis team finishes season strong in sectionals

6/13/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

GREEN — Green High School boys tennis head coach Jan Hicks said her team had its ups and downs this season, but a strong finish provides solid hope for a team that won’t lose any players to graduation.

“Our No. 1 singles player, Tommy Saunders, made it to the fourth round of the sectionals. He lost to the third-seeded player from Jackson. And my first doubles team of Isaac Lampner and Tyler Fehr also made it to the fourth round, where they lost to a seeded team,” the coach said. “It was good to see us having a strong showing at sectionals. I don’t think too many other schools expected Green to do well just based on our season record, but we really turned it up a notch at the sectional tournament. It showed what we’re capable of doing. I hope that level of play will carry over to next year.”

Overall, Green had a 5-13 record this year. The team finished in sixth place in the Suburban League.

“It was disappointing, but we had a lot of 2-3 losses, and some of those we should have won,” she said. “That’s something we’ll need to work on for next year.”

On the plus side, Hicks said, the team’s players always stayed strong as a unit.

“They stayed bonded as a team,” she stated. “They always stayed positive no matter what — they always kept a positive attitude and said, ‘This is the day we’re going to turn it around.’ They always asked questions on how to get better.”

Hicks said there were no seniors on this year’s team, which featured five juniors and two sophomores in key roles.

One of the juniors was Saunders, who was in the No. 1 singles role for Green this season.

“Tommy is an outstanding player,” Hicks said. “Unfortunately, there are so many good singles players out there that he kind of just fell under the radar. He wasn’t able to get seeded at sectionals, but he did make it to the fourth round. He’s a smart player who has been playing since he was 10 or 11 years old. He self-coaches himself really well and he stays really composed. He plays an all-around game.”

According to Hicks, Green’s second doubles team of John Moresea and Clay Hammes finished with the team’s best record this season.

“They meshed really well as doubles players and they were very coachable,” she said. “They wanted to learn strategy and they got more aggressive and played smarter as the season went on.”

For most of the season, Hicks said, Green’s first doubles team was comprised of Lampner and Tommy Bacher, but when Suburban League play ended, Lampner and Fehr became the new first doubles team.

“They had some competitive matches heading into the postseason. In the sectionals, they were able to advance to the fourth round,” she said. “Tyler started off the year as our second singles player. He’s a very good player, but he got a little frustrated when he came up against some very tough singles players. He kind of requested trying the doubles thing, so that was part of the reason we made the change. Tyler has a great serve and a variety of shots. He’s a smart player.”

The team’s third singles player this season was Adam Jasso.

“He’s a big player and he hits big strokes,” the coach said. “Unfortunately, he faced a lot of soft hitters, which took him out of his game. He just needs to work on maintaining his game against all types of players.”

Hicks said she wants to see her team improve in match play headed into next season.

“They need to get more tournament play in the offseason,” she said. “We need to get better at playing strong from the first point to the last. We just didn’t do enough of that this season, and it’s something that I’ve challenged them to improve on.”

According to Hicks, all seven players are expected back next year, but she said there are some younger players who will be looking to challenge for their roster spots.

“There are a couple of [junior varsity] players coming up, and it will be interesting to see who can grab a spot,” she stated. “There are some JV players who will work hard in the offseason, and the varsity players can’t get complacent. I’m hoping to see them take their game up a level or two.”

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